Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty, Coin Type from United States (issued 1837 - 1891)
Coin TypeQuarter Dollar, Seated Liberty

The Quarter Dollar is a United States coin worth 25 cents. It has been produced on and off since 1796 and consistently since 1831.

After the initial issue of the "Draped Bust" type (1796 - 1807), a second Capped Bust obverse was used until 1838. In 1838, the type was replaced by the Seated Liberty type design.

The weight was 6.68 grams initially, then was reduced to 6.22 grams in 1853. All silver denominations changed again after the Mint Act of 1873 which, in an attempt to make U.S. coinage the currency of the world, added a small amount of mass to the dime, quarter, and half-dollar to bring their weights in line with fractions of the French 5-franc piece. The change also ensured the quarter dollar (which is valued 2.5 times the dime) weighed 2.5 times the dime (6.25 g), and the half dollar (twice the value of the quarter dollar) weighed twice what the quarter dollar weighed (12.5 g). In this way, a specific weight of these coins, no matter the mixture of denominations, would always be worth the same. This relation in weight and value continued in the cupro-nickel coins from 1965 on. In both instances, the change in weight was indicated on the coins by having arrow heads on both sides of the date. The arrows stayed in the design from 1853 to 1855 and again in 1873 and 1874, and were then removed (later coins stayed with their new weight). A similar design change was also implemented on the half dime, one dime and half dollar coins.

The Seated Liberty portrait designs appeared on most regular-issue silver United States coinage from 1836 through 1891. The denominations which feature the Goddess of Liberty in a Seated Liberty design include the half dime, the dime, the quarter, the half dollar, and until 1873 the silver dollar, as well as the short-lived twenty cent piece. The obverse shows Liberty seated on a rock, holding a pole with a Liberty cap on it and supporting a shield. On the reverse, the denomination is spelled as QUAR. DOL. (quarter dollar), unlike on earlier types where it was given as 25 Cents.

The reverse shows the American Eagle as before. In 1866, a scroll inscribed with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the design.

In 1892, the type was replaced by the Liberty Head design (known as the Barber Quarter). In later years, there were also changes in size and composition (the quarter is now lighter and made of copper-nickel), but these coins have never been demonetised and are still legal tender. This, of course, is of academic interest only, as their numismatic value is enormously higher than their face value.

Obverse
United States / Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows the symbolic figure of Liberty clad in a flowing dress and seated upon a rock. In her left hand, she holds a Liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap (a type of cap which in Ancient Rome was worn by freed slaves). With her right hand, she supports the Union Shield, which has thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). Across the shield, a diagonal banner inscribed with the word LIBERTY.

During 1840, the design was slightly modified with additional drapery of Liberty's dress, flowing down from her left elbow.

Around above, thirteen stars representing the 13 original states in the Union.

In the exergue below the figure, the date of issue: [year]. Between 1853 and 1855 and in 1873-1874, arrows on both sides of the date indicate a reduction and later increase in the weight of the denomination.

The rim is beaded.

Obverse Inscription ************* [year]
Reverse
United States / Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty - reverse photo

The main device on the reverse is an eagle, perched, with open wings, looking to left. On its breast, the Union Shield at centre, with thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). From the eagle's perspective, it holds a bundle of three arrows in its left talon, and an olive branch in its right talon.

The arrows and olive branch together symbolise that the United States has "a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war". The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch, to symbolise a preference for peace.

Around above, a scroll inscribed with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

Around the outer rim, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below the eagle, the abbreviated value and denomination QUAR. DOL. (quarter dollar).

The rim is beaded.

Reverse Inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA QUAR. DOL.
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Coin Type: Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty - (54) Coins
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
Quarter Dollar 1838 Seated Liberty 466,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1838
Quarter Dollar 1839 Seated Liberty 491,146 Seated Liberty ************* 1839
Quarter Dollar 1840 Seated Liberty 613,327 Seated Liberty ************* 1840
Quarter Dollar 1841 Seated Liberty 572,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1841
Quarter Dollar 1842 Seated Liberty 857,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1842
Quarter Dollar 1843 Seated Liberty 1,613,600 Seated Liberty ************* 1843
Quarter Dollar 1844 Seated Liberty 1,161,200 Seated Liberty ************* 1844
Quarter Dollar 1845 Seated Liberty 922,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1845
Quarter Dollar 1846 Seated Liberty 510,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1846
Quarter Dollar 1847 Seated Liberty 1,102,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1847
Quarter Dollar 1848 Seated Liberty 146,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1848
Quarter Dollar 1849 Seated Liberty 356,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1849
Quarter Dollar 1850 Seated Liberty 602,800 Seated Liberty ************* 1850
Quarter Dollar 1851 Seated Liberty 248,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1851
Quarter Dollar 1852 Seated Liberty 273,060 Seated Liberty ************* 1852
Quarter Dollar 1853 Seated Liberty 16,577,220 Seated Liberty *************←1853 →
Quarter Dollar 1854 Seated Liberty 13,864,000 Seated Liberty *************←1854 →
Quarter Dollar 1855 Seated Liberty 3,429,400 Seated Liberty *************←1855 →
Quarter Dollar 1856 Seated Liberty 8,518,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1856
Quarter Dollar 1857 Seated Liberty 10,906,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1857
Quarter Dollar 1858 Seated Liberty 8,009,300 Seated Liberty ************* 1858
Quarter Dollar 1859 Seated Liberty 1,684,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1859
Quarter Dollar 1860 Seated Liberty 1,249,400 Seated Liberty ************* 1860
Quarter Dollar 1861 Seated Liberty 4,950,600 Seated Liberty ************* 1861
Quarter Dollar 1862 Seated Liberty 999,550 Seated Liberty ************* 1862
Quarter Dollar 1863 Seated Liberty 192,060 Seated Liberty ************* 1863
Quarter Dollar 1864 Seated Liberty 114,070 Seated Liberty ************* 1864
Quarter Dollar 1865 Seated Liberty 100,300 Seated Liberty ************* 1865
Quarter Dollar 1866 Seated Liberty 45,525 Seated Liberty ************* 1866
Quarter Dollar 1867 Seated Liberty 68,625 Seated Liberty ************* 1867
Quarter Dollar 1868 Seated Liberty 126,000 Seated Liberty ************* 1868
Quarter Dollar 1869 Seated Liberty 92,600 Seated Liberty ************* 1869
Quarter Dollar 1870 Seated Liberty 95,740 Seated Liberty ************* 1870
Quarter Dollar 1871 Seated Liberty 160,950 Seated Liberty ************* 1871
Quarter Dollar 1872 Seated Liberty 288,800 Seated Liberty ************* 1872
Quarter Dollar 1873 Seated Liberty 1,656,762 Seated Liberty *************←1873 →
Quarter Dollar 1874 Seated Liberty 863,900 Seated Liberty *************←1874 →
Quarter Dollar 1875 Seated Liberty 5,113,500 Seated Liberty ************* 1875
Quarter Dollar 1876 Seated Liberty 31,357,150 Seated Liberty ************* 1876
Quarter Dollar 1877 Seated Liberty 24,099,710 Seated Liberty ************* 1877
Quarter Dollar 1878 Seated Liberty 3,396,800 Seated Liberty ************* 1878
Quarter Dollar 1879 Seated Liberty 14,700 Seated Liberty ************* 1879
Quarter Dollar 1880 Seated Liberty 14,955 Seated Liberty ************* 1880
Quarter Dollar 1881 Seated Liberty 12,975 Seated Liberty ************* 1881
Quarter Dollar 1882 Seated Liberty 16,300 Seated Liberty ************* 1882
Quarter Dollar 1883 Seated Liberty 15,439 Seated Liberty ************* 1883
Quarter Dollar 1884 Seated Liberty 8,875 Seated Liberty ************* 1884
Quarter Dollar 1885 Seated Liberty 14,530 Seated Liberty ************* 1885
Quarter Dollar 1886 Seated Liberty 5,886 Seated Liberty ************* 1886
Quarter Dollar 1887 Seated Liberty 10,710 Seated Liberty ************* 1887
Quarter Dollar 1888 Seated Liberty 1,226,833 Seated Liberty ************* 1888
Quarter Dollar 1889 Seated Liberty 12,711 Seated Liberty ************* 1889
Quarter Dollar 1890 Seated Liberty 80,590 Seated Liberty ************* 1890
Quarter Dollar 1891 Seated Liberty 6,204,600 Seated Liberty ************* 1891
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Quarter Dollar, Seated Liberty: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-type ofQuarter Dollar
From1837
To1891
Face Value25 (x Cent)
CurrentNo
Material0.900 Silver
DesignerChristian Gobrecht
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size24.300 mm
Mass6.680 g